National Weather Service Issues Alert for Chicago Beachgoers

The weather hazard in in effect from 1 p.m.-midnight Friday

The National Weather Service in Chicago is warning beachgoers to stay out of Lake Michigan waters Friday. 

In a weather hazard issued Friday, NWS warned of life-threatening waves and currents at beaches in the Chicago area.

According to the NWS, northeast winds will increase behind a cold front Friday resulting in building waves along the Indiana and Illinois shores of Lake Michigan. Wave heights are expected at 3 to 5 feet with a strong rip current expected, said meteorologist Charles Mott at the NWS Chicago.

 “What makes that bad is the fact that no matter how good of a swimmer you are you are not going to swim against the rip current,” Mott said. “The only way that you can swim with it at all is if you went [swam] parallel [with the current].”  

A rip current can occur at any beach with breaking waves and most often form at low spots or breaks in sandbars and near structures, according to a rip current survey done by Texas A&M University.

The weather hazard is in effect from 1 p.m.-midnight Friday.

By Friday afternoon, swim advisories were in place at the Calumet Beach and Rainbow beach in Chicago, according to the park district. A swim ban was also in effect at Fargo beach. 

A limited to elevated thunderstorm risk is likely leading into the weekend through Monday. Sunday has the most potential for a severe weather threat according to the NWS.

Scattered showers are expected Friday with 10 to 30 percent coverage at any time, NBC's weather model shows. Highs will remain in the low 70s along the lakefront rising to the mid-70s inland. Winds will shift NW to NNE at 8 to 18 mph.

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